Tag Archives: sewing

A dyslexic problem with Blackwork embroidery


I’m not sure how many people know I am dyslexic, I didn’t find out until I was part way through my physics degree, when a tutor looked over my shoulder at my lab book & stated; “ sorry I didn’t know you’re dyslexic”. Follow by a brief conversation about my lab book looking just like his. I am thankful for him pointing it out. I thought I was just bad a spelling & hated reading out loud.

Forward on to the Blackwork castle, some of the visual distortions came back. I found it very difficult to count & get the shading correct.

Blackwork embroidery of Cooling Castle in Kent UK

I happened to mention to one of the embroidery tutors about how difficult I had found it , compared to the Whitework, & that I happened to be dyslexic, & would normally work on lilac paper. We had a conversation about coloured fabric & my ability to to shade correctly. I found lilac linen & l’ve framed up my small slate frame. I found a photo of my Lilly I grew in the summer.

Blackwork design tracing

To transfer the design on to the linen we tend to use the tacking method. The design in drawn on to tissue paper, & then tacked on normally with a pale blue machine thread, but I have lilac linen instead on white.

Tacking through the tissue paper
After the tissue paper is revived.

After a bit of sampling, I decided on a stitch

Stitch sample.

Gold work Puffin update


Slowly progressing , I’ve finished working on the wing for now. It’s time to work on the area under the wing & the feet. I need to start thinking about giving him something to stand on, in the original photo I took my design from he’s standing on a rocky outcrop with sea pinks. Time to think about that too

Puffin wing


I managed to finish the lower wing bar today. Attempting the cut work through the carpet felt padding has been a nightmare. The thicker the padding is, the more unlikely you are to know where the needles will come out 😅. If your needle comes out in the cut gold it damages it. Too many cracks or damaged bits & you loose marks.

Anyway, I bent so many needles 🪡, I’ve had to order more. Cut work will be resumed once the needles arrive. Meanwhile, I have scattered chipping I can continue to work on.

Dragon jewellery

Beaded dragon necklace

I’ve been busy beading over the weekend. I’ve finished both the dragon necklace & bracelet kits from spellbound beads. I’m afraid I couldn’t get the bracelet into the fancy shape it suggested, so I wrapped it round my rolling pin. One does have to get creative, to form a wrap around bracelet.

Dragon bracelet & necklace

Having got it into shape, I then had to work out how it could be posted to the family in Scotland with out it ending up a squished mess. That’s when I remembered I had brought those round tissues for the car. My niece can use the tissues too, so a win, win situation.

Puffin eye

Eye design in silver, red & black metallic threads

I’ve been busy working away on the upper part of the head & eye. I’m really pleased with the look of the finished eye. I hope it’s going to look even better once the silver leather cheek is in place.

I’ve now got to start working on the beak design, I have various metallic threads & machine threads to help me create a stylised, but natural looking beak. This is definitely going to need working out on the practice frame, I hope to have something suitable for my tutor to comment about on Friday.

Wing area in progress

The wing area is still in progress, unfortunately I ran out of the gold passing thread I was using, so I hope the RSN still has the same reel & I can get some more of the same. I didn’t like to start the next part of the wing, just in case it’s not exactly the same & it notices. It was nice to have a break from pulling all the way through the layers of carpet felt & especially plunging the ends through, I had quite sore fingers at one point.

Gold work puffin: string padding

Showing felt & strong padding for gold work

The padding for the metallic threads is finished. The white area will be silver & orange area gold.

I’ve also been thinking about the basket weave pattern for the chest, the face & beak. I have acquired some rather nice red & black metallic threads for the beak & some iridescent gold leather for the feet & iridescent silver for the cheek. I’m glad I’m sampling & working designs & stitches out for myself, with a little help from my tutors.